China’s online economy has received a boost from consumers being encouraged to stay at home and remain local during Chinese New Year. For many, online shopping, catering and other forms of online consumption have replaced more traditional activities, such as spending time and cooking with family and friends, during this year’s festival.
Between January 20 and February 18, online retail sales reached 906 billion RMB ($139 billion). Several e-commerce giants launched shopping events during the period and some were co-organised with local governments. Douyin’s sixteen-day long shopping bonanza, which was the first organised by the platform, brought in 20.8 billion RMB ($3.2 billion).
Due to the growing number of shopping festivals in China, e-commerce platforms have to lure Chinese consumers in with huge discounts, and a combination of shopping and entertainment. This includes featuring new product launches, big-name celebrities and KOLs, and innovative digital experiences.
The online catering industry saw sales grow by 48.5% over the 2021 festival period, of which, food delivery increased by 56.8%. As many urban migrants were unable to return home to celebrate with their families due to COVID-19 restrictions, demand for Chinese New Year’s Eve meal kits boomed, increasing by 78.8% year-on-year.
With travel limited, going to the cinema has become an even more popular entertainment activity than usual during Chinese New Year. Online box office sales exceeded 9 billion RMB ($1.2 billion), an increase of 412.7% and 20.9% over 2020 and 2019 respectively. The first day of the holiday saw a global record for the highest box office sales in a single day, which amounted to 1.7 billion RMB ($263 million).